Region 5 Summit

October 3-4, 2019

Santa Cruz, California

Focus on the Ocean and Water

Region 5 Design Team Participants

Resources Developed

Grade, Grade Level, Course Performance Expectations Phenomenon Region
Grade 7 MS-LS2-1, MS-LS2-4 Algae in Elkhorn Slough has increased since 1925 5
Grade 5 5-LS2-2, 5-ESS3-1 Algal mats cover the salt marsh in the Elkhorn Slough 5
Grade 2 2-LS2-1 Coast redwoods are the tallest living trees on Earth 5
Grade 5 5-ESS2-1, 5-LS1-1 Coast redwoods are only found in a narrow band of California and Oregon 5
Grade 6 MS-PS1-4 Dirty Water can be cleaned 5
High School HS-LS2-8 Female and male northern elephant seals use different foraging strategies 5
Grade 5 5-LS1-1, 5-LS2-1 Fish pee supplies nutrients to California kelp forest ecosystems 5
Grade 7 MS-LS2-1 Fog is essential for redwood trees 5
High School HS-LS2-4 Larger kelp fish contribute more ammonium to a kelp forest ecosystem 5
Grade K K-LS1-1 Male and female northern elephant seals do not look the same 5
Grade 3 3-LS4-2 Male elephant seals stay near the shallow, continental shelf on feeding trips, but females swim further out into deep, open ocean water 5
Grade 7 MS-LS2-1, MS-LS2-4 Removing fishes reduces nitrogen availability in the California kelp forest ecosystem 5
Grade 3 3-ESS2-2, 3-LS4-4 Some areas of California get more rainfall than other areas 5
Grade 5 5-ESS2-1 The level of the ground in the San Joaquin Valley is getting lower over time 5

 

Summit Lead Educators, Scientists, and Community Experts

Kathryn Beheshti

Kathryn Beheshti
Kathryn (Kat) Beheshti is a PhD Candidate in the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department at UC Santa Cruz. Kat has spent the last 7 years working in Elkhorn Slough, an estuary located in Monterey Bay, CA. Kat studies how crabs affect the salt marsh habitats they live in and she conducts seagrass restoration projects in the estuary where seagrass has been slow to recover from widespread lost seen in the 1930s. Kat has immersed herself in science communication and public outreach through her own platform, justsloughit.com where she and the team of undergraduates she mentors generate content through blogs and videos sharing their research and various experiences as scientists. Kat has also designed and implemented a science program, Science is F.U.N. (For Understanding Nature) where K-8 students get to be scientists for a day and conduct mini-experiments. Kat is committed to conducting research that helps protect and better understand our coastal watersheds. She is also emerging as a local leader in science communication and public outreach programs.

Sarah Kienle

Sarah Kienle
Sarah Kienle is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she is studying the foraging ecology and physiology of leopard seals, a poorly studied top predator in Antarctica, to understand how the species will adapt to a rapidly changing environment. Her research broadly focuses on understanding the foraging ecology and life history of marine predators. She is interested in understanding and predicting how animals will cope and respond to environmental change. She recently received her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where her dissertation investigated flexibility in the foraging strategies of pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walruses). She received a MS in Biology from San Diego State University, where her thesis focused on the relationship between form and function in the evolution of pinniped feeding strategies. Sarah is a former middle school and high school teacher, and she is passionate about sharing the results of her research and her enthusiasm for science with both the scientific community and the general public.

Cristina Riani

Cristina Riani
Cristina Riani is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz. She grew up in Oakland, CA and then spent four years in Corvallis at Oregon State University. Cristina has an Honors Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and wrote her Undergraduate Honors Thesis on bryophyte water adsorption and retention. During her undergraduate program, Cristina studied abroad in Costa Rica through CIEE’s Tropical Ecology and Conservation program. While there, she completed an independent research project on bryophytes in the Monteverde cloud forest.  She is now happy to be back in California, studying fog and redwoods at UCSC. Cristina is excited to explore new scientific questions about the unique connection between the coastal fog and redwood forests. She is also passionate about environmental education and wants to continue seeking out ways to collaborate with educators and develop her science communication skills. 

June Shrestha

June Shrestha
June Shrestha is a marine scientist at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. She is passionate about marine community ecology and exploring the dynamic interactions within California's kelp forest ecosystems. For her M.S. degree, June studied fish pee! She found that fishes supply a "hidden" nutrient source to California's kelp forests via their pee, and it may be an especially important source under future climatic conditions and human impact. In addition to her research, June is an avid SCUBA diver - you can catch her leading the underwater feeding show at the Monterey Bay Aquarium a couple of times a month.

Adina Paytan

Adina Paytan
Adina Paytan’s principal research interests lie in the fields of biogeochemistry, chemical oceanography and paleoceanography.  The goal of her research is to use the chemical and isotopic records enclosed in a wide range of earth materials to study present and past biogeochemical processes. Adina was born and raised in Israel, and after two years of mandatory military service she traveled to India and Nepal and hiked the Himalayas for another two years.  She obtained her B.Sc. double major in Biology and Geology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and pursued a M.S. degree in science education at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot.  In 1989 Adina moved to San Diego to take part in the Ph.D. program at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.She spent 8 years as a professor in the department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Stanford. Currently, Adina is a Research Scientist at the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Jessica Soukoulis

Jessica Soukoulis
Jessica Soukoulis is the K-8 Science Curriculum Coach at Pajaro Valley Unified School District. In this role, she supports teachers in implementing the Next Generation Science Standards and in using local phenomena to deepen students' environmental literacy. This work earned her an Innovator of the Year award in PVUSD for the 2018-2019 school year. Prior to becoming a coach, Jess taught first through fifth grade science for six years. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from University of California, Santa Cruz, and she holds both a single-subject science credential and a multiple-subject credential that she obtained from Santa Clara University. Jess is currently working on her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, with a dual concentration in Leadership and Environmental Education, from Concordia University, Portland.

Elizabeth Svensson

Elizabeth Svensson
Elizabeth Svensson teaches at-risk high school youth in Alternative Education with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. She holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Redlands, a Master's Degree in Teaching from Fresno State University, and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University Monterey Bay. Elizabeth has a passionate heart for social justice and conservation, and structures her classes and curriculum with a lens of environmental literacy and youth empowerment.

Jennifer Poodry

Jennifer Poodry
Jennifer Poodry has been teaching in elementary education for over 20 years. She has worked as a classroom teacher, bilingual resource teacher, and gifted education specialist in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District. She is currently teaching third grade. Jennifer has been heavily influenced by the stunning natural environment in Santa Cruz, California, where she grew up as the daughter of a UCSC Biology professor. She is passionate about teaching children to think scientifically and hone both their inquiry and observation skills. Jennifer has collaborated with science teachers and leaders on the PVUSD Science Leadership Team and with the Santa Cruz County Science Leadership Institute. She is enthusiastic about NGSS and teaching science through exploration and making meaning of the natural phenomena we encounter everyday.

Patty Hayes

Patty Hayes
Patty Hayes is currently is the 4th and 5th grade science teacher at Boulder Creek Elementary School in Boulder Creek, CA and a science lead for the San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District.  She is also working with the Baysci District team and the NGSS Teacher Leadership Institute through the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. Patty is a former middle school and college teacher.  She has a bachelors in Chemistry from Cal Poly, SLO and a Physical Science credential. Patty’s goal as an educator is to be constantly improving her own practice and to support K-5 teachers in their expertise and practice of NGSS and environmental literacy.  She has a love for outdoor adventures and fun such as hiking, biking, kayaking and gardening.

Dorothee Ledbetter

Dorothee Ledbetter
Dorothee Ledbetter has a P.D. in biology and is a resource specialist at AFE (Alternative Family Education), a Santa Cruz City Schools K-12 independent study program. She is excited that science education is embracing more phenomena-based, experiential learning that also includes scientists and community groups. Dorothee has been fortunate to become a part of the NGSS Science Leads team in 2018, and has participated in and led several countywide NGSS training events. She is holding NGSS-aligned science nights at AFE with the topic “Climate Change,”  and working on making FOSS materials accessible for independent study.

Spencer Klinefeldter

Spencer Klinefelter

Spencer Klinefelter is an environmental educator with a decade of experience teaching students of all ages both in the field and in formal classroom settings. As an Education Coordinator for the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History he develops and leads a variety of programs across the county for K-12 students and has been a participant and facilitator of various Teacher Leadership Institutes, promoting environmental literacy and science education through inquiry-driven, phenomena-based curriculum. As an avid naturalist and graduate of UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Environmental Studies, Spencer firmly believes in place-based, experiential education and getting students outside and practicing science as much as possible.

Whitney Cohen

Whitney Cohen
Whitney Cohen is a teacher, trainer, and author with tremendous commitment to, and expertise in, inquiry- and place-based education; strategies for engaging diverse learners; school gardens; and the intersection between environmental and food education and public schools. As the Education Director of Life Lab, a national leader in garden-based education, Cohen presents hands-on workshops to approximately 1,000 educators annually, and leads a national leadership institute for school garden support organizations. She has also written activity guides, including The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids, Food Corps’ Sprout Scouts, and The American Heart Association’s Teaching Garden Guide. Cohen is a former middle school science teacher and currently teaches “Teaching Environmental Education” at UC Santa Cruz. She received a BA from Vassar College in Sustainable Community Development and an MA from UC Santa Cruz in Education. 

Pauline Seales

Pauline Seales
Pauline Seales earned her Physics degree in the UK. After spending over 20 years as an engineer in the Silicon Valley industry, Pauline began her teaching career. She earned her teaching credential San Jose State and spent 20 years as a high school science teacher. Since retirement, Pauline has been a volunteer docent in Santa Cruz and a Climate activist.

Laura Arnow

Laura Arnow
Laura Arnow grew up on the east coast but migrated to California to attend UC Santa Cruz, where she studied Environmental Studies and planned to save the world. After several other careers as a wildlife biologist, editor, tall ship sailor, recycling coordinator, and park ranger, she settled down to teach elementary school--first in the Bay Area, then in Laos, and finally in Monterey Bay. Laura coaches the Green Team at her school, and has also coached underwater robotics and gardening. She and her students have participated in the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Ocean Plastic Pollution Summit for the past 5 years, and in the Algalita Plastic Ocean Pollution Summit in 2019, and she has created Ocean Guardian school programs at her current site (Calabasas Elementary in Watsonville) and at Soquel Elementary School. Known as the Field Trip Queen at her school, she is happiest outdoors hiking and sketching in her nature journal with kids or without.

Virginia Guhin

Virginia Guhin
Virginia Guhin is the Education Coordinator at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve and an Interpreter II with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. She has 20 years of coastal and marine science education and outreach experience in the Monterey Bay area. Virginia’s work at the Reserve focuses on K-College education curriculum design, developing new teacher professional development workshops, managing an after school program, overseeing the annual Reserve Open House and other outreach events. She also develops partnerships with other informal education organizations. Virginia is committed to developing exciting and engaging education programs for all students and teachers, which ignite curiosity and caring for the environment.

Stew Jenkins

Stew Jenkins
Stew Jenkins has been teaching about the environment for more than twenty years. After graduating from Stanford in 1990, Stew earned his teaching credential at the College of the Holy Names in Oakland, California. He taught high school and middle school mathematics in Oakland and Berkeley for three years. When he moved to the Monterey Bay, Stew began teaching for the Santa Cruz Outdoor Science School in Corralitos. Stew has worked for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, LifeLab Science Program, coordinated the Green Schools Program of Santa Cruz County, and worked as a watershed educator at the Coastal Watershed Council. He sees environmental education as a manual for living in the world. In 2014, Stew was awarded a climate change fellowship by EE Capacity for his pioneering efforts to teach 5th, 6th and 7th graders about climate change in the public schools. In 2016, Stew founded the Monterey Bay Center for Environmental Literacy to spread environmental literacy throughout the Monterey Bay.

Tara McCullough

Tara McCullough
Tara McCullough has been teaching for 19 years at Starlight Elementary School in Watsonville California. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UCSC and a second BA in  Education from the University of New Mexico.  Although she has taught all elementary grades she is now focusing on teaching science to 4th and 5th graders.  Tara has enjoyed shifting her instruction to NGSS and loves to engage students in learning about ways they can positively impact the natural world.  One way she has done this is by guiding all 220 students that she teaches in litter reduction projects that qualified Starlight as an Ocean Guardian school.  She also supports her school as a science lead teacher at Pajaro Valley Unified School District. 

Jessica Humburg

Jessica Humburg
Jessica teaches Biology and Environmental Science to high school students at Soquel High School in Santa Cruz County. She lucky to teach on the coast of Monterey Bay, rich with diverse and unique ecosystems, and strives to connect her students to the natural phenomena in their communities whenever possible. Jessica is passionate about engaging students in meaningful sense-making and inquiry learning that enables students to develop skills necessary for 21st century problem solving. Through her science teaching, she hopes to foster students' curiosity about the natural world and empower learners to become active citizens when they leave her classroom. Jessica received her BA in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz and her science teaching credential from CSU Fullerton. She is in her fourth year of teaching and isn't looking back!

Rachel Hitchcock

Rachel Hitchcock
Rachel Hitchcock has been a teacher at Amesti Elementary School for 19 years, and for the past 9 years she has been the 4th and 5th grade science teacher there.  She graduated with her teaching credential and masters in education from University of California Santa Cruz.  Prior to that she was an outdoor educator for 10 years, which was the perfect job for someone who has always loved science and being outdoors.  She strives to foster that same love for science and nature in her students, and works to inspire them to never stop wondering and learning.

Jennifer Schmida

Jennifer Schmida
Jennifer Schmida teaches second grade and is in her fourth year as the science coach for Live Oak School District. She has been teaching for 25 years. Jennifer holds a multiple subject teaching credential and has a Master’s of Education from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is a teacher leader with the Santa Cruz County Science Teacher Leadership Institute. A prime focus for student learning in her classroom is to connect students with their environment, particularly the natural history of Santa Cruz, and to instill a sense of stewardship for the future.